Do the Right Thing


So here’s my question: how do you really know what is the “right thing”? How can you be sure?

Sometimes we find ourselves in situations where “the right thing” feels obvious to us. Help someone we love. Give to someone in need. Reach out to somebody who seems alone.

It seems so clear, doesn’t it?

But here’s the problem: we can never really know what other people are thinking. Even people we’ve known their entire lives. Even people we consider to be our closest, most trusted, most loved allies.

Even then, we can sometimes take an action that feels so clearly “good” to us, but which is met with anger, resentment and dismay.

What do we do then?

For me, having done something wrong out of a desire to do something right, I am at a complete loss. How do you apologize for what you felt, deeply and honestly, was a giving action? How do you get past the rage and resentment to explain what it was that you intended?

I don’t know.

What I do know, what I have come to believe, is that I have to trust my own intentions. I have to trust my knowledge about myself and about those around me.

Someone way smarter than me told me recently, “We can’t control how our messages are received. We can only control how they are sent.”

“Do the right thing.”

Sure. Sounds easy.

Only its actually the hardest thing there is.

7 thoughts on “Do the Right Thing

  1. A good person in general (which I believe you are) will act with good intentions. When someone reacts in a way that appears to be so uncharacteristic to what you would expect, I think you have to assume something deeper, something is underlying their reaction. The real question might be, do you probe-dig deeper to extract the why, or do you let things be for awhile. Time may be what is needed more than anything so that the person can really listen to what your intent was and hopefully allow you to understand why they reacted the way they did. Good luck.


  2. It can be so devastating when our attempts to help someone backfire. All you can do is apologize and then let it go. Your friend was right in that you can’t control how other people react to you; you can only control your own actions. You meant well, let that be enough.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Honestly, if what you did caused harm, I don’t think your intentions matter. I think you should apologize and listen to the other person, WITHOUT trying to defend yourself. Think about what you can do to help NOW, rather than try to defend what you’ve already done.


    • The thing is that I have in fact apologized, in writing, more than once. It was a huge series of misunderstanding and misread actions. I did apologize, but is hasn’t been received. I’d give anything to fix this, but have truly no idea of how to move forward.


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